Former PN finance minister Tonio Fenech has sparked something of a social media outrage by sharing a story of an American man who said he stopped being gay to marry Christ.
The story, published by The Christian Institute, quotes the man as saying that the word of God changed him inside out and that he eventually got married to a woman.
And Fenech, a co-founder of the lobby group Catholic Voices Malta, added his own commentary under his post.
“God does not create people gay, God created us in his image and likeness,” he said. “God loves gay people, but that does not mean he condones homosexual acts. As much as God does not condone sex before marriage or outside of marriage between a man and a woman.”
“God loves us all, despite all of us being sinners, but he invites us to be better. This is what the Catholic Church teaches.”
When someone noted that people cannot just change their true sexual orientation, Fenech claimed that there’s a distinction between sexual attraction, sexual conduct and self-identification.
“Not every person who engages in same sex relationships has necessarily these three elements because humans are very complex beings and not stereotypes as the assertion ‘once gay always gay’ make them to be,” he said.
Fenech was widely panned for his views, with PN Sliema councillor Kevin Wain denouncing it as “extremist” and “rubbish”.
“This sounds like something out of the American Christian right,” he said. “It is what I expect from Donald Trump, not a highly successful former PN minister. Not even the most reactionary out of the Catholic Church favours this kind of extremist politics. As a PN councilor, I disassociate myself from this kind of rubbish. Shame on you Tonio.”
However, some people stood up for the former minister, arguing that people like the American man in question have a right to share their own life experiences.
Fenech is renowned for his hardline Catholic views, having come out against gay marriage and the right of LGBT+ couples to adopt children in recent years.
Last year, he publicly stood up for Matthew Grech, a singer and River of Love member who claimed God helped him stop being gay.
Cover photo: Left: Former minister Tonio Fenech, Right: The American couple quoted by The Christian Institute